Having finished the colossal SPACE CONQUERORS! project at my blog, today I was finally able to set up a page devoted to TIM HOLT / RED MASK from Magazine Enterprises in the early 1950's.
Most of the covers are by Frank Bolle, with a few by Frank Frazetta thrown in for good measure.
TIM HOLT #36 / Jul'53
971 pixels wide from the Comic Book Plus site. I had to do some very complex "fill-in" down the left and right edges, plus fix some creases along the bottom edge, and, replace the entire sky background with airbrush and some subtle "blends". There was also some serious "glare" on the foreground figure which also required airbrush darkening up of the shadows. Not bad!
By the way, I found out that Holt pretty much retired from movies by 1952, which no doubt explains why the "RKO'S WESTERN STAR" banner disappeared from the 1953 issues of his comic-book.
TIM HOLT #37 / Sep'53
958 pixels wide from the Comic Book Plus site. This was REALLY dark before I applied "levels". Afterward, it was still REALLY dirty. I had to airbrush the entire yellow background! In addition, as you can see, the entire left edge was really ratty, and the bottom edge was also quite a mess. A combination of airbrush and "copy-and-paste-into" put that right. I also cleaned up the logo area, part of Redmask's costume, and a simple application of "contrast" brought up Frank Bolle's signature a lot better. This took about 3-4 hours. MUCH better now!
I love how the villain is obviously just a normal human wearing a "man from space" costume to scare folks. This is maybe a DECADE before Marvel's breed of western heroes faced the same kind of thing!
TIM HOLT #38 / Nov'53
1,633 pixels wide image from the Heritage Auctions site. The upper-left area required a bit of clean-up, and in general I used airbrush on the ENTIRE black background, which developed some heavy "glare" when someone scanned it (or photographed it, whichever). I also cleaned up a lot of dirt on the rocks on the lower-right, and used airbrush on the entire logo area, as well as parts of the costumes of both Redmask & Black Phantom. NICE!
TIM HOLT #39 / Jan'54
997 pixel image from the B-Western Cowboy Heroes site. The version currently at the Comic Book Plus site is identical, except smaller, which suggests the BWCH site is where someone got it from.
This reminded me of all those TINY Spanish "Daredevil" cover images I cleaned up a couple years ago. Maybe 80% of the finished image was the result of AIRBRUSH! I did the entire blue background, and yellow background, and red circle in the logo. The white text-- all of it-- was done with "fence" and "levels". The surface of the cover was so "rough", the background color so uneven, I'm not even sure if it was supposed to be "smooth" or not... but it is NOW! This took several hours. I think the result is worth it (although I'd have preferred having a larger scan of a book in better condition to work with).
As you can see, this was the month Magazine Enterprises decided to toss their Stetson into the "3D" fad arena. Only, WITHOUT the need for special glasses. Crazy, huh?
TIM HOLT #40 / Mar'54
2,011 pixel wide image from Heritage Auctions. This was the biggest (and sharpest-quality) one of these I've found n some time!
A relatively easy one. The flat, graphic nature of the background made it simple to airbrush most of the dirt and color plate problems. I used "color balance" to fix the red and green in the logo itself. I'm not sure if the "tan" on those Indians shouldn't have been lightened up a bit more, it still seems a bit too dark to me...
Does it seem odd that with the advent of this "3D" gimmick that they replaced the "3D"-style logo with an entirely different, "flat" one?
TIM HOLT #41 / May'54
More Frank Bolle fun in "3-D"! 2,027 pixel wide image from Heritage Auction. Some minor clean-up, and come "fill-in" around the edges. A relative "quickie", for something this old!
RED MASK #42 / Jul'54
The name of the comic was changed from TIM HOLT to RED MASK with this issue. Otherwise, more of the same!
LOTS of airbrush on this-- the entire red background (including all around the small text!!!), and the green grass (which got totally screwed up due to some SEVERE color balance adjustment). This was a horrific mess when I started, due to an AWFUL scan "worthy" of Mile High (heehee). There was also some major color plate registration problems, most of which I fixed with copy-and-paste-into. LOTS better now!!
RED MASK #43 / Sep'54
1,360 pixels wide image from Heritage Auctions. This was another one that required a LOT of color adjustment, and I was rather surprised it came up as good as it did. I airbrushed the entire white background, the "ME" logo and quite a lot of the heavier black lines (which had gone blue from using "levels"). I also got the lower-right corner from a separate, and much smaller scan.
RED MASK #44 / Nov'54
Unfortunately, I could only find 3 images of this online, and 2 of them were terrible! The best was also slightly smaller than the other 2... but sometimes you do what you can. This one actually clocks in at 717 pixels wide, which is the size I'm posting it at, as, if I tried to shrink it down to my standard 700 pixels wide it would become slightly fuzzy, and this thing is fuzzy enough, believe me.
Given its size and inherent fuzziness, there was only so much I could do, or justify doing, on this one. Even so, this is now the BEST version online (until a better, and hopefully much bigger, version turns up).
Seems like I saw a scene just like this in a Ron Ely episode of TARZAN...!
RED MASK #45 / Dec'54
Another one where I couldn't find as large an image as I'd have liked. This one was 703 pixels-- and from Heritage Auctions, yet! I airbrushed the entire yellow background to smooth it out, and did a lot of "copy-and-paste-into" with the left, bottom and right edges. Plus, I corrected some severe color plate registration problems, especially around the outstretched arm of the main figure, and a copuple of the Indians on the far left. MUCH better now!
RED MASK #46 / Jan'55
A measely 717 pixels wide image from Heritage Auctions. Unlike most, this was pretty "bright", yet still required a lot of clean-up. I airbrushed the entire white background, the red and black of the logo, and did extensive copy-and-paste-into for the bottom and lower left AND riight edges-- the original comic was OFF-rotation when it was cropped back in late '54! All fixed now! What a COMPLEX image, both for the drawing and coloring. But by comparison, I love how most of these Magazine Enterprises covers have such SIMPLE "design" work with the text, etc.
RED MASK #47 / Feb'55
A 949 pixels wide image from the Comic Book Plus site. This started out as a horrific mess, with creases, wrinkles & damage all over the place. A TON of airbrush (the entire background & logo area), copy & paste (Red Mask, Black Phantom, the Indians, ground & trees) and some severe color adjustment (skin tones), and it's MUCH better now!